Mahendra Singh Dhoni aka Mahi is regarded as India's most successful captain till date. He continues to display the same kind of mental strength and maturity irrespective of whether he is batting or leading the Indian cricket team. As he turns 33 today, we pay a birthday tribute to 'Captain Cool' and one of the finest finishers of the game in the world under pressurizing situations.
He comes in at a time when the Indian side just need the kind of batsman like him to stabilize the innings, which he is near-certain to convert into a winning, noteworthy performance. On more than one occasion, the athletic captain has proved his mettle behind the stumps as well, instrumental in making dismissals when the opposite batsmen begin to look dangerous. He led India to the World T20 title in 2007. He is the only captain in history to have won all three ICC global titles - World T20 2007, 2011 World Cup (50 overs) and 2013 Champions Trophy (50 overs)
Take a look at his best innings (with the willow and the gloves) from the time he made his debut against Bangladesh in December 2004.
1. India v/s Sri Lanka- October 31, 2005- This was Sri Lanka's tour of India,being played at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Rajasthan. India had a lost a wicket early into the match, 7-1. Dhoni coming down to bat at one down took charge of the siuation and showed no respite and leniency towards the Lankan bowlers. He hit a blitzkrieg 183 off 145 balls to hand India a victory, giving them a 3-0 lead in the seven match ODI series. He hit 15 fours and 10 sixes enroute his match-winning performance.
— REETAM :-) (@Reetam_MSDian) July 7, 2014
2. India v/s Australia- February 22-26, 2013- The first match of the bilateral Border-Gavaskar trophy played between two cricketing superpowers was played in Chepauk, Chennai at the MA Chidambaram stadium. What made this match special was a maiden double ton by the Indian skipper, creating a record of becoming the first Indian wicket-keeper to hit a double century in test cricket. Mahi came in to bat at No 6 and India had lost six wickets before even reaching 200. Aussies scored 380 in the first innings. None of the batsmen were spared the punishment as he scored 224 off 265 balls in the first innings. The leather was smashed around the park, leaving the Indian crowds entertained and enthralled. This match-winning performance enabled the Indians to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.
Of course, India have to thank skipper Ms Dhoni for being in this happy position: his 224 was innings of a lifetime. Applause folks!
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) February 25, 2013
3. India v/s Sri Lanka- April 2, 2011- The day-night World Cup finals were held in Mumbai at a packed Wankhede stadium. The visitors having won the toss chose to bat and piled on 274 runs in 50 overs. The former railwayman came ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh to partner Gautam Gambhir and build a 109-run partnership. He scored a quickfire 91 off 79 balls to hand India its second World Cup after the Kapil Dev-led squad lifted the prized catch in 1983. It took India 28 years to lift the silverware and it came under the leadership of none other than Dhoni.
MS Dhoni led by example, making an unbeaten 91 to steer India to their second World Cup title! Well done! Anyhow,... http://fb.me/WI9VYl3v
— TheOriginWeb (@TheOriginWeb) April 2, 2011
4. India v/s Pakistan- February 19, 2006- The traditional rivalry between India and Pakistan not only dates back to the wars but is also known to spill onto the cricket field as expletives are a regular feature where both the nations are fighting to restore their nation's pride and dignity. In the fifth one-dayer played at the National stadium in Karachi (India's tour of Pakistan), Pakistan tried to unsuccessfully defend a total of 286 as Captain Cool played yet another praiseworthy knock scoring 77 off 56 balls. Pakistan bowling attack was subject to battering, first by Yuvraj Singh (107 off 93 balls) and then by MSD. A crucial Dhoni catch was dropped which cost the fielding side heavily. India clinched the series 4-1.
The current captain known for his agility and athleticism, has impressed not only with the willow but also trampled the ego of several acclaimed batsmen by rattling the woodwork and putting their batting innings to rest. Dhoni holds the Indian record for wicketkeepers in Tests with 263 dismissals (226 catches, 37 stumpings)in ODIs - 298 dismissals (224 catches, 80 stumpings)